Mapping brain maturation and cognitive development during adolescence.
ABSTRACT Non-invasive mapping of brain structure and function with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has opened up unprecedented opportunities for studying the neural substrates underlying cognitive development. There is an emerging consensus of a continuous increase throughout adolescence in the volume of white matter, both global and local. There is less agreement on the meaning of asynchronous age-related decreases in the volume of grey matter in different cortical regions; these might equally represent loss ("pruning") or gain (intra-cortical myelination) of tissue. Functional MRI studies have so far focused mostly on executive functions, such as working memory and behavioural inhibition, with very few addressing questions regarding the maturation of social cognition. Future directions for research in this area are discussed in the context of processing biological motion and matching perceptions and actions.
- Artificial Life and Evolutionary Computation - Wivace 2008; 01/2010
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ABSTRACT: Childhood and adolescence are critical periods for maturation of neurobiological processes that underlie complex social and emotional behavior including Theory of Mind (ToM). While structural correlates of ToM are well described in adults, less is known about the anatomical regions subsuming these skills in the developing brain or the impact of cerebral insult on the acquisition and establishment of high-level social cognitive skills. The present study aimed to examine the differential influence of age-at-insult and brain pathology on ToM in a sample of children and adolescents with traumatic brain injury (TBI). Children and adolescents with TBI (n=106) were categorized according to timing of brain insult: (i) Middle Childhood (5-9 years; n = 41); (ii) Late Childhood (10-11 years; n = 39); and (iii) Adolescence (12-15 years; n = 32) and group-matched for age, gender and socio-economic status (SES) to a typically developing (TD) control group (n=43). Participants underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) including a susceptibility weighted imaging (SWI) sequence 2-8 weeks post-injury and were assessed on a battery of ToM tasks at 6- and 24-months after injury. Results showed that for adolescents with TBI, social cognitive dysfunction at 6- and 24-months post injury was associated with diffuse neuropathology and a greater number of lesions detected using SWI. In the late childhood TBI group we found a time-dependent emergence of social cognitive impairment, linked to diffuse neuropathology. The middle childhood TBI group demonstrated performance unrelated to SWI pathology and comparable to TD controls. Findings indicate that the full extent of social cognitive deficits may not be realized until the associated skills reach maturity. Evidence for brain structure-function relationships suggests that the integrity of an anatomically distributed network of brain regions and their connections is necessary for the acquisition and establishment of high-level social cognitive skills.Human Brain Mapping 02/2015; · 6.92 Impact Factor
- Archives of Disease in Childhood 06/2005; 91(7):554-563. · 2.91 Impact Factor